Ingham 4850

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View of Tyto wetlands in Ingham from viewing platform

 Ingham

One word pretty much sums up Ingham’s existance and that’s “Sugar”.

In a part of Australia that grew extensively as a result of Sugar, Ingham is uniquely dependent  on it. Other districts such as Tully and Innisfail have a variety of crops and although sugar forms a large part of their economy, in Ingham it is uniquely dominant.

It is mainly as a result of sugar that Ingham has a long and proud tradition of Italian settlement and is a significant early location of Italian culture in Queensland. The area was settled by Southern Italians around the turn of the 19th century, after the indentured South Sea Islanders were ‘repatriated‘. After this, Southern Europeans, who were considered more suited than northern Europeans to the harsh working conditions in the climate were encouraged to migrate from the impoverished southern Italian districts.

A migration scheme in 1891 saw about 335 Italians disembark for the sugarcane districts of the Herbert River, Burdekin and Bundaberg. The largest proportion remained in Ingham in Hinchinbrook Shire.

This heritage is celebrated with the Australian-Italian festival in early August.

Click, drag and enlarge map as you need.

What’s in Ingham?

The town is on the Bruce highway, just over 100km north of Townsville and 230km South of Cairns. If you’re an Australian traveller coming from the north, you’ll need to keep a lookout for the Townsville road because it’s a left turn from Lanercost Street and is not particularly prominently signposted.

Ingham has a particularly well presented Tourist Centre just over half a kilometre down the highway from the turnoff at Lanercost St. The centre forms the entrance to the Tyto wetlands and features some terrific interactive displays. along with the usual array of useful takeaway information about the district.

Much of the business in Ingham is associated with farming, as you’d expect, and is heavily oriented to cane handling machinery. There are a number of subsidiary businesses and you can get most things you might need to get by.

“Pub with no beer”

Ingham is the home of the original ‘Pub with no beer‘.

The story is essentially that, after an arduous trip north in the height ot the wet season, personnel from the American 22nd bombing group arrived early in the morning and, being thirsty, drank the bar dry. Next morning, local farmer and poet Dan Sheahan had ridden his horse in 20 miles [about 30 km] from his property to his favorite pub but discovered that it had run out of beer. He subsequently wrote the poem that Slim Dusty put to words and jointly created the famous song.

The pub has changed somewhat since then and is now a comfortable place for a modern Australian traveller to eat, drink and sleep with an interesting collection of memorabilia.

New Ingham Cemetry

The New Ingham Cemetry is a fascinating collection of Italian-style mausoleums That have been erected by prominent Italian families. The cemetery is worth a visit to check out one of the North’s best sites for these traditional-style memorials to departed relatives.

Tyto wetlands

This is a 90 ha urban redevelopment area that is home to a great variety of wildlife. The wetlands and its inhabitants are described by a comprehensive and entertaining series of interactive displays in the visitor’s centre.

Tyto information centre showing raised walkway to the left

Tyto information centre showing raised walkway to the left

Before you go on a tour of the wetlands, don’t forget to apply insect repellent and sunblock. Familiarise yourself here with the application and use of insect repellent.

The wetlands are approximately 90 ha and can be explored from a path that is approximately 3.4 kn long.
There is also an elevated walkway leading to an observation deck and a restaurant.

The elevated walkway looks over the ponds and provides a platform for observing and photographing the bird life.

As all birders know, you are likely to have most success with your ‘twitching’ just after dawn and just before dusk.

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Tyto wetland

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Tyto wetland

 

If you venture further than the information Centre car park, you will be able to wander through the wilder, less ‘managed’ wetland. This is where you’ll need to have your wits about you if you are to see some of the dozens of bird species.

Wetlands hide

Wetlands hide

If you’re lucky, you might come across Tyto Tony who is one of the most knowledgeable of folk when it comes to the wetland and its many bird inhabitants and visitors. You’ll be able to spot Tony much more easily than any of the bird species as he sports an outdoorsy look and a large, serious-looking lens on his camera.

Tony posts his excellent photographs on his blog tyto tony.

Out of town

There’s some spectacular scenery within a short distance of the town. However, you should take the term ‘short’ on advisement. Remember this is a big country and short is relative. The Wallaman Falls, for example is an almost two hour drive.

Wallaman Falls

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View back to Ingham from the hills on the road to the Wallaman Falls

 

Wallaman falls

Wallaman falls, all 270 m of it

 

If you continue West along Lannercost Street from the Bruce Hwy turnoff you will arrive at the Ingham-Abergowrie Rd. The road eventually (follow the signs) climbs into the hills and takes you to the Wallaman Falls.

These falls are, like all the waterfalls in the North Tropic region, at their most spectacular in the wet season. If you can choose a fine day after some significant rain, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view.

The falls are Australia’s longest single-drop falls at just on 270 metres.

There are viewing platforms and clearings at the top so that you can take those photographs and if you’re feeling energetic you can climb down the pathway to the bottom where there’s a swimming hole. Don’t forget to take plenty of water, a hat, sun block and insect repellent.

Jourama Falls

With a less spectacular but nonetheless gorgeous waterfall, a visit to these falls is a must. They are accessed from a road about 24 km south of Ingham. The road is off to the west from the highway and is well signposted. There is an easy run into the National Park from the Highway. Your first port of call is the beautifully presented day use area where you can stop and check out the pond (with turtles) and use the barbecue facilities. Going further, you will arrive at the beautifully presented camping area with excellent facilities. Finally you can park your vehicle at the parking area and head off on foot.

Be prepared for a much more strenuous hike from the car park to the viewing platform at these falls than the Wallaman falls but expect some really worthwhile spots on the way where you can pause to take in the beauty of the Tropical North of our great country. We’re waxing lyrical because the site is one of the more rewarding, varied and spectacular in the Far North.

On the  path to the falls - gorgeous!

On the path to the Jourama falls – gorgeous!

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Turtles in the pond adjacent to the camping area.

 

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More turtles

The path to the falls follows the valley of the Waterview Creek. The path is well maintained and has been graded and stepped to make it easier to follow. It comes close to the creek and crosses it with well-defined crossings and footbridges.

The path is quite steep and although the footing is easy the terrain is not, especially the last 500 m or so.

You should persist because you will be rewarded with a great view from a platform across the valley from the falls.

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Jourama falls in an unseasonal dry spell during the wet.

 

Victoria Mill

This is Australia’s highest-capacity sugar mill. It’s worth stopping as you drive past to check out the display of old machinery including a steam loco and train outside the front of the mill.

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Machinery display outside Victoria Mill

 

Lucinda, Halifax and the beaches

A short drive to the east will take you to the historic town of Halifax and on to Lucinda with the largest Jetty in the southern hemisphere. The jetty provides deep-water loading for sugar export.

 

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